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Petra Börner casts her Spell for Kew Gardens

Petra Börner was recently commissioned by Kew Gardens to create an artwork celebrating the start of Autumn. Petra chose base her piece on ferns for a variety of reasons. She wanted to represent the change that overtakes nature as summer ends and a new season dawns, and thought that the ferns association with magic and art was the perfect representation of this. Not only is the fern an ancient plant, virtually unchanged since the Cretaceous period, but it has also appeared as a decorative form in pottery, textiles, sculpture and print, especially since Victorian times. Ferns also have reputed magical properties – for example, Finnish folklore holds that if you find a fern seed blooming on Midsummer night, you’ll be able to travel invisibly to spots containing hidden treasure. And those spots are protected by a spell, which will prevent anyone but the discoverer of the fern-seed from finding them. Hence the name of Petra’s piece – Spell.

Spell was first made by cutting and layering paper to give a sense of depth, before being turned into a print. It’s now available as a limited edition available exclusively from Kew Garden stores.